Finger Lakes 50s Info
Our 32nd year of not letting the cows out!
6:30am Saturday July 03
Hector, NY | FLRC | 50 Miles, 50K, 25K


Registration opens on May 5 at 5:55 PM. If you have questions, please contact race directors Mike Stone or Pete Dady.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Start times:
50 Mile and 50K at 6:30 AM
25K at 8:00 AM

The FL50s consists of 50-mile, 50K, and 25K trail races in the Finger Lakes National Forest in Hector, NY. Each distance is part of the Finger Lakes Runners Club Trail Circuit, and results are included in our annual Pebblehead/Stonehead/Boulderhead rankings. The 50-mile distance is also the New York State RRCA championship race for the ultra. 

All three races will use the same loop course, starting and finishing at the Potomac Group Campground. The course is a 16.5-mile loop covering singletrack trail, grassy pastures complete with grazing cows and cow pies, and dirt roads. Run it once, twice, or thrice for your respective distance. The 50K and 50-mile races start at 6:30 AM and the 25K race starts at 8:00. Runners will encounter 1,300 feet of elevation gain per loop and four aid stations on each loop. Note that the 25K and 50K run “long” at 16.5 and 33 miles, respectively. But hey, that’s more mileage per dollar! 50-milers do an extra half-mile loop at the end to get their full distance.

As this event is being planned and run during the COVID-19 pandemic, we may have to alter some of the traditional aspects of this event to adhere to state and local regulations and our race safety precautions. We will update competitors as we move forward towards  the race date. You can reach the race directors at

Many FLRC trail races take place on parts of the Finger Lakes Trail, which crosses much of New York State and is maintained by the nonprofit Finger Lakes Trail Conference. If you enjoy running on our local trails, consider supporting the Finger Lakes Trail Conference’s efforts to develop and maintain the Finger Lakes Trail. Support Finger Lakes Trails


The race starts and finishes at race headquarters—which doubles as the Living Room aid station—at the Potomac Group Campground in the Finger Lakes National Forest. The campground is located just off of Potomac Road, about a half-mile north of the intersection between Picnic Area Road and Potomac Road.


Parking is available on Potomac Road only and is limited to the west side of the road. (Please abide by the “No Parking” signs on the road’s east side.) In addition, parking will not be permitted in the entrance or driveway to the Potomac Group Campground parking lot, nor the area designated for the “Baby Loop” on the 50-mile course.

Any vehicles parked in a “No Parking” zone will be towed at the owner’s expense… and after running all day it wouldn’t be too fun to find your vehicle gone!

Parking in prohibited areas violates the terms of our permit with the Finger Lakes National Forest. Emergency vehicles, race vehicles, and general public use vehicles must be able to use the road while the race is in progress.

Carpooling is highly encouraged for those who are fully vaccinated. Due to the number of cars that will be parked along the road, you may have to park some distance from the race registration area. Please make sure that you arrive early on race day to account for this.

This race is run entirely within the Finger Lakes National Forest. FLRC recognizes that this forest is on traditional lands of the Indigenous Seneca Nation, part of the larger Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Susquehannock people. We honor with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations, long before New York State existed. As you run our race, please respect the land and acknowledge this history and the Indigenous people’s relationship to it.



Registration for the Finger Lakes 50s will open on UltraSignup on 5/5 at 5:55 PM.

The event is capped at 250 registrants for all three races combined (50-mile, 50K, and 25K) and always sells out fast. If you don’t get in initially, you can still register and be placed on the waitlist. (Your credit card will not be charged until you are invited via Ultrasignup and you accept the invitation.) The wait list will be tapped as registrants cancel. See the wait list information below for more details.

You can see a list of registrants at the Finger Lakes 50s UltraSignup page by clicking on the “people” icon just below the header photo.

There are no deferrals to a future year.

Wait List

There will be a wait list once the race is full; one for the 25K and one for the 50K/50M (although it will appear as one single list on UltraSignup; 25K runners will be invited to replace 25K runners who cancel, and 50K/50M runners to replace 50K/50M runners who cancel). If you are invited into the race from the waitlist, you will receive an email invite via UltraSignup and you will have two days to either accept or decline the invite. If you don’t respond within two days, you will be removed from the waitlist and the next person on the waitlist will be invited.

To get on the waitlist once the race is full, go to the Finger Lakes 50s UltraSignup page. You can view the wait list on the UltraSignup site by clicking on the hourglass icon below the header photo.

FLRC 100K Ultra Challenge

Didn’t make it off the wait list? Or just looking for another ultra opportunity in Ithaca? Check out the FLRC 100K Ultra Challenge, a unique test of your ultrarunning prowess. Instead of running loops until you’re done, you’ll need to plan the self-supported logistics necessary to travel between ten courses around the Ithaca area, completing each before moving on to the next. The courses are half trail, half road, and range from 1 mile to the half marathon. You can run the courses in any order, and you get a full 24 hours from the point when you scan the first course start. Everyone who completes the FLRC 100K Ultra Challenge receives a personalized 12×12-inch metal FLRC Challenge course sign. It’s a great focus for a weekend visit to Ithaca whenever you want in 2021!



50-mile and 50K: $95

25K: $60

Fees include:

  • Shirt. (Indicate your size during registration.) There will also be additional swag for sale at packet pick-up. The giveaway may change depending on availability.
  • Four aid stations per loop. Details about aid station food will be finalized later pending COVID regulations. There will be water at each station.
  • Awards for overall male and female and masters male and female for each of the three races.
  • Awards for male and female age-group winners. (10-year age groups.)
  • Finisher awards.
  • Small breakfast before the start. (Usually muffins, OJ, and coffee.)
  • Post-race meals will be provided—details will be provided later as we get closer to the event, pending COVID regulations.  
  • Optional free camping at the race start/headquarters the night before and/or the night after the race.
  • Best of all, an excellent day/weekend in the woods with trail-running friends!


There are no deferrals to a future year.

Refund before June 1:

If you register and then need to withdraw your registration and do so by June 1, you will receive a 50% refund.

NOTE: Refunds will only be for the race entrance fee; refunds will not include the UltraSignup service charge.

Cancellations after June 1:

No refunds will be given after June 1. If you decide after June 1 not to run, please go to your UltraSignup account to cancel or notify us at so a runner from the wait list can be given a spot.


*Subject to COVID regulations*

Friday, July 2nd

11:00 AM: Camping at the Potomac Group Campground (race HQ) opens. Camping here is free for all runners, volunteers, crew, pacers, and their families.

4:00 – 7:30 PM:  Packet pick-up for all three races (25K, 50K, 50-mile) at Potomac Group Campground Pavilion – THIS IS THE BEST TIME TO PICK UP YOUR PACKET!!

Saturday (Race Day), July 3rd

5:00 – 6:15 AM:  Packet pick-up for the 50-miler and 50K ONLY at the pavilion. – There will be a racer check-in at the start line for all 50-milers/50K, whether you picked up your bib the day of the race or the day before.

6:15 AM:  Race instructions/announcements.

6:30 AM:  50-mile and 50K races start. We may use wave starts pending COVID regulations. Details to follow.

6:45 – 7:45 AM:  Packet Pick-up for 25K ONLY at the pavilion – and racer check-in at the start line for all 25K runners, whether you picked up your bib the day of the race or the day before.

7:45 AM:  Race instructions/announcements (at start line area).

8:00 AM:  25K race starts. We may use wave starts pending COVID regulations. Details to follow.

11:30 AM-ish:  25K awards ceremony.

12:00 PM:  Cut-off time for 50K runners – you must complete Loop 1 and start Loop 2 by this time (5 and a half hours elapsed) to continue on.

12:30 PM-ish:  50K awards ceremony.

2:15 PM:  Cut-off time for Loop 2 of the 50-miler – you must complete Loop 2 and start Loop 3 by this time (7 hours and 45 minutes elapsed) to continue on.

4:30 PM-ish:  50-mile awards ceremony.

5:00 PM:  Cut-off time for 50-milers on Loop 3 to reach the Library Aid Station (roughly 10 miles into the loop) – you must reach and leave the Library aid station by 5:00 PM to continue on (43 miles in 10 hours and 30 minutes elapsed).

Sunday, July 4th—Happy Independence Day!

10:30 AM:  Potomac Group Campground closes. All campers need to depart. If you plan to continue camping in the forest, you’ll need to move your gear to a different campsite—the Potomac Group Campground is for reservation only. More info on camping permits.


It’s a three-loop course and pacers are only permitted for 50-mile racers on their third loop. If you’re running the 50-mile you’ve done two loops already, so do you really need a pacer for the third? If you do want a pacer he or she must register so we can keep track of who is out on the course. There is no fee for pacers. However, if pacers would like to purchase any meals, you need to mail your Pacer Registration and Waiver Form with a check made out to Finger Lakes Runners Club prior to June 1. Meals are $12 apiece. 

The form can be printed, completed, and mailed or emailed prior to race day if no extra meals are to be purchased (or by June 1 if purchasing a meal), or can be completed at the time of packet pick-up at the race site.

FL50s Pacer Registration and Waiver Form (Check back soon for link to form.)

Mail to:
Finger Lakes 50s
2523 Carson Rd.
Cortland, NY 13045

Or scan and email to

Pacer Rules

  • Pacers will be allowed for 50-mile racers ONLY.
  • Pacers may accompany a 50-mile racer on his/her third full loop (16.5 miles) and the final Baby Loop (0.5 miles) only.
  • Pacers must stay with the person they’re pacing at all times.
  • Pacers must be at least 18 years old.
  • Pacers cannot mule for their runner—that is, carry ANYTHING (fuel, clothing etc.) for the runner they are pacing.
  • For liability purposes, the Pacer Registration and Waiver Form must be completed by anyone wishing to pace.
  • All pacers will be provided with a pacer bib which they must wear at all times on the front of their body while out on the course with their racer.


The Finger Lakes 50s comprises 50 miles, 50K (approximately 33 miles), and 25K (approximately 16.5 miles) around the Finger Lakes National Forest. All three distances are part of the Finger Lakes Runners Club Trail Circuit.

Download course map | See detailed course description

Course Elevation:

This elevation chart will provide a close representation of the FL50s course with an elevation gain of approximately 1,300 feet per loop.

All three races will use the same loop course, starting and finishing at the Potomac Group Campsite. As noted above, the course is a 16.5-mile loop covering singletrack trail (85%), grassy pastures (5%) complete with grazing cows and cow pies, and dirt roads (10%). 25K runners complete a single loop, 50K runners run two loops, and 50-milers complete three loops plus a half-mile “baby loop” to give them a nice round 50 for the day. Runners will encounter six aid stations on the course including the finish area. (There are five individual aid stations, but runners will hit the South Beach aid station twice making it six.)


Aid Stations: We have reduced the number of aid stations from 6 to 4. Please plan on carrying water and food with you. Subject to change pending state and local regulations. 

1 – The Beach—4.5 miles from the start

2 – The Library—5.5  miles from The Beach, 10 miles from the start

3 – The Outback—4.0 miles from The Library, 14.0 miles from the start

4 – The Living Room (Finish line area)—2.5 miles from The Outback, completing the 16.5-mile loop. For those doing the 50K/50m events, you will be able to leave a drop bag in this area.

The course will be marked with signs consisting of black arrows over a red background, and pink flagging. Follow these markings and no others. There are a ton of interconnected trails and dirt roads throughout the forest, and it can be easy to get lost if you aren’t paying attention. If you come to a yellow “wrong way” sign, you’ve gone the wrong direction. The Finger Lakes National Forest has orange, white, and blue blazes on the trees—ignore these blazes, and only follow the black and red arrow signs and the pink flagging. The arrow signs will only be posted where you need to make a turn – if you don’t see an arrow, don’t turn onto another trail. If you see pink flagging, follow it!

You’ll encounter a number of boardwalks throughout the course. These boardwalks have a nasty reputation of being very slippery, even if it hasn’t rained. Besides being slick, some boardwalks have broken wood and holes—please watch your step.

There is a short section where runners will be moving in both directions. About a mile up the trail after leaving Mark Smith Road, and again as you approach the aid station #1 (The Beach). Please stay to the right side of the trail to allow for two-way traffic without risk of collision. This section will be well marked to eliminate any confusion. 

For a complete description of the course: See the detailed course description.


  • Race Day Check-in: You MUST check-in prior to your starting time before on race-day morning, even if you picked up your packet the day before. For your safety, we must have an accurate number of runners on the course.
  • Cut-off Times: 
    • 25K – There is no cut-off time; runners will be completing one loop (16.5 miles).
    • 50K – Need to complete the first loop by 12:00 PM noon (5 hours, 30 minutes elapsed)
    • 50-milers – Need to complete the second loop and start the third loop by 2:15 PM (7 hours, 45 minutes elapsed).
    • 50-milers – Also need to reach and leave The Library aid station on the third loop (roughly 10 miles into the loop, and roughly 43 miles into the race) by 5:00 PM (10 hours and 30 minutes elapsed) to continue on​.
    • If you were planning on doing the 50-miler and didn’t make the cut-off to start the third loop, your time will be counted as a 50K finish.
    • If you finish 2 loops and have met the cut-off time, but are unsure of continuing and linger at the aid station, you must report to the finish line area if you decide to continue on or if you decide to stop; if you stop you can go through the finish line again for a 50K finish. (See bullet above.)
    • If you start the third loop, but miss the cut-off time at The Library (5:00 PM), it is a DNF.
  • Headphones/Earbuds: Wearing headphones for the first three miles of the race is prohibited – it can be crowded and people need to be able to communicate and hear. Wearing headphones during road sections could result in disqualification, and if you decide to use headphones on trail sections, keep the volume low and/or one earbud out to hear other runners, horses, cows, and the rest of the natural environment. This is both for your own safety and that of others. Listen responsibly and be aware of your surroundings.
  • ABSOLUTELY NO LITTERING!!! Carry-in, carry-out (or throw it in a trash bag at an aid station.) Those found littering will be disqualified!
  • NO BANDITS: Anyone found running as a non-registered runner or pacing for a 50-mile runner will be banned from all future Finger Lakes Runners Club events.
  • Dropping From Race: If you decide to drop out while you are out on the course, you MUST give the tear-tag from your bib and timing chip to a volunteer or race official and make sure race officials and the Wilderness Search and Rescue crew know you are dropping out. Once your tag has been removed you may not change your mind and continue in the race. When you finish the race, you must make sure that race officials have taken your number tear-tag and timing chip. If you leave the race with your tear-tag, we will think that you are still out on the course and we will be searching for you! We do not want to be out looking all night for someone who is not out on the course.
  • Bib Numbers: You must wear your number in the front at all times and your number must be visible to the race volunteers. DO NOT FOLD OR ALTER YOUR RACE NUMBER IN ANY WAY, INCLUDING REMOVING THE BOTTOM TEAR OFF SECTION (LEAVE IT ATTACHED.) A DISPOSABLE TIMING DEVICE IS ON THE BACK OF THE BIB, AND FOLDING YOUR BIB MAY CAUSE THE DEVICE TO MALFUNCTION AND FAIL TO RECORD YOUR TIME. It is your responsibility to make sure that your number has been recorded when you go through an area where numbers are being taken. If it is found that your number was not taken at one of these locations it will be assumed that you did not go through that area and you will not be counted in the finishing results.
  • Changing Race Distances: Runners registered for the 25K race may not change race distances. All runners registered for the 50K and 50-mile races are registered for both the 50K and 50-mile races. Please make your decision before you reach the finish line area of your second loop to know which mat you will be crossing—the FINISH mat or the LAP mat. 50-milers must complete Loop 2 and start Loop 3 within 7 hours and 45 minutes if they plan to go on for the 50-mile distance. If you do not meet this cut-off, you will be counted as a 50K finisher when you do cross the finish line. If you registered for the 50K and have met this cut-off and would like to go on for a 50-mile finish, you are allowed to continue. 50 Milers… if you cross the LAP mat after the 50K distance and then decide not to go on for the 50 miles, you will then have to cross the FINISH mat and that will be your recorded finish time for the 50K.
  • Continuing After Each Loop: Each time you come through the lap area and intend to go on for the next lap, you must do this within a reasonable period of time after going through the aid station. If you meet the cut-off time, but linger at the aid station and the cut-off time lapses, you will not be permitted to continue because you didn’t start the next loop BEFORE the cut-off time.

Disqualification: Anyone who does not comply with these rules risks disqualification as well as being banned from any future Finger Lakes 50s event.


  • Temperature During Race: If the temperature exceeds 80° F, as it often does on race day, it’s wise to carry enough water to last for at least an hour or two.
  • Cows – Don’t Let The Cows Out! You will be running through three pastures that have cows (and possibly a bull). These animals are naturally curious and sometimes like to follow you. You MUST close the gates behind you! DON’T LET THE COWS OUT and do not antagonize the animals. We cannot and will not be accountable for animal actions or injuries resulting from irresponsible behavior, and do not wish to put future editions of this race in jeopardy.
  • Horses and People on the Trails: The trails are open to the public. You may encounter other people, forest rangers, and/or horseback riders. If you come upon a horse, please announce yourself to make sure that the horse and rider know that you are approaching and walk past the horse to avoid startling the animal. Please be courteous to any non-racing individuals enjoying the trails. They have just as much right to be out there as you do.
  • Your Health and Well-being: You are responsible for your own health and well-being—please know your abilities and take care of yourself. There will be Wilderness Search and Rescue personnel around the course to assist you in the event of an emergency—let’s do our best to ensure they are bored. If it appears that you are becoming physically or mentally impaired during the race, race officials and/or volunteers have the right to pull you from the race. If you are asked to stop, you must comply.
  • Dogs at the Race: It’s preferred to not have dogs at the race—it gets crowded, and in past years we’ve had dogs get in fights and runners get tripped by dogs. If you do bring your dog, dogs are not permitted near any of the aid stations. If you go to an aid station with your dog, you must stay clear at a distance from the actual aid station so your dog doesn’t get in the way of runners and volunteers. Dogs are not permitted to run with any racer or pacer. Dogs must stay on a leash at all times with a responsible adult. For more info go to the FAQ page (second to the last question).
  • Assisting Runners: Family/friends who drive around the course to see their runners MUST be aware that runners will be crossing and/or running on portions of various forest roads. Crew members – please drive slowly and cautiously. If you are at an aid station to assist a runner, you need to stay clear of the actual aid station so you don’t get in the way of volunteers assisting other runners. We have very capable and helpful volunteers at our stations. Extra people stepping in creates confusion for the volunteers who are trying to help and track the registered runners.

No Fireworks: Yes, it’s the Fourth of July, but fireworks are prohibited per National Forest permit regulations.


  • During registration, runners will be required to agree to our COVID-19 race safety guidelines.
  • No dogs, headphones, or jogging strollers are allowed. These make the race dangerous for everyone.
  • The race directors reserve the right to reject any entry for any reason.
  • Entry fees are non-refundable, even if the race is canceled because of an act of nature or mankind.
  • This race is organized by the Finger Lakes Runners Club and insured by the Road Runners Club of America.

Our race directors are committed to providing an equal race experience among genders and sexes. The Thom B Trail Runs, along with all other FLRC trail races, will abide by the following standards (to the extent that they are available to men) as outlined by the Trail Sisters Web site.

The Commitment:

  • Equal podium spots
  • Equal prize money & awards
  • Women’s-specific swag & apparel
  • Menstrual products and disposal opportunity at aid stations, in races of a half marathon or longer
  • Equal opportunity and space for women on the starting line

For more information on these standards, please visit



Course records for the current course (including the South Slope Loop), beginning in 2010.
50MMaleBrian Rusiecki6:46:302010
50MFemaleLaura Swift8:37:352012
50MMasters MaleJack Pilla6:54:212010
50MMasters FemaleNancy Kleinrock9:03:092012
50KMaleMichael Heimes4:19:202018
50KFemaleNora McIver-Sheridan4:42:242016
50KMasters MaleMichael Heimes4:19:202018
50KMasters FemaleNancy Kleinrock5:02:232010
25KMaleJeff Powers1:49:252016
25KFemaleNora McIver-Sheridan2:13:502012
25KMasters MaleAdam Engst2:08:502017
25KMasters FemaleAudrey Balander2:33:062010

Course records prior to 2010, for the old course including the Searsburg Road section

50MMaleLeigh Schmitt6:38:46
50MFemaleAliza LaPierre7:28:41
50MMasters MaleJack Pilla6:55:33
50MMasters FemaleBarb Bellows8:17:12
50KMaleMichael Wunsch3:50:28
50KFemaleRebecca Harman4:37:13
50KMasters MaleCourtney Campbell4:13:17
50KMasters FemaleNancy Kleinrock4:52:38
25KMaleChris Byler1:42:06
25KFemaleKatherine Danner2:03:57
25KMasters MaleEric Grimm1:47:40
25KMasters FemaleLinda Grossman2:06:15



Volunteering for the Finger Lakes 50s can be fun. It’s a great way to make friends and get you psyched to run your first ultra if you’re new to the scene. The race depends on a corp of 50 to 60 volunteers to help with the race. To find out more, please see: Volunteer at the Finger Lakes 50s.


In addition to free camping at the staging area, there are a number of options for B&B, Air BnB, hotels/motels, and camping elsewhere in the Finger Lakes region near the Finger Lakes National Forest. There are lots of options for restaurants as well. Take a look here for a list of options:

See a list of nearby lodging and restaurants.


The race could not happen without the support of all of our sponsors. See a complete list of the FL50s Sponsors.


Still have questions? Check our FAQ, or contact us at


Finger Lakes National Forest Information

Finger Lakes National Forest Non-discrimination Document